Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 11, 2023 / 13:46 pm
As two prominent Finnish Christians prepare to go on trial for citing biblical teachings on marriage and sexuality, a group of 16 U.S. lawmakers appealed to the Biden administration to come to their defense.
Member of Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola are facing a retrial for allegations of “hate speech” based on comments they made about the Bible and the Lutheran Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
A court initially dismissed the charges against both of them, but prosecutors appealed the decision and both will be retried on Aug. 22. While violations of the hate-speech laws can carry a penalty of up to two years in prison and the possibility of fines, the prosecution is demanding only tens of thousands of euros in fines, with the exact amount it is seeking unclear.
The 16-member coalition, led by Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, is asking the U.S. ambassador to Finland, Douglas Hickey, and the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, Rashad Hussain, to “continue to raise concerns” about this “legal assault” on the two Finnish Christians.